Route Section Number 4:

Exeter to Dartmouth

Sheltered by the heights of Dartmoor, this east-facing coast between the Exe and Dart creates a special microclimate. The scenery and warmth led to the creation of a series of elegant resorts known as the English Riviera.

Today, whether you are escaping the motorway or A303 at Exeter, or you’ve been exploring our recommended coastal roads in East Devon, this stretch of the SW660 makes a fascinating detour.  

Between some glorious protected coves and estuaries, much of this stretch of shoreline has been well developed. That’s why it will be busy in the summer – but that also means it offers some of the South West’s best hotels and restaurants.

Your Route

Slow down for this!

Enjoy estuary views on both sides as you drive across Shaldon’s long, low bridge. It’s a third of a mile and when opened in 1827 was England’s longest wooden bridge. You can still see the original tollbooth at the Teignmouth end but much more concrete and steel has been added since. It’s still one of the most spectacular driving stretches on the SW660.

Did you know?

The flock of black swans nesting around a small brook in Dawlish’s park have become symbols of the town… and a minor tourist attraction. Generations of the birds have been an attraction for more than 100 years. They were introduced to the town from Australia by a local Edwardian traveller.

During your trip

Route Highlights

The Exe Estuary

If you followed our recommendations along the east side of the Exe estuary, you’ll need no persuasion to visit the west side. This is one of the southwest’s largely undiscovered gems.

Dawlish Warren

Locals roll their eyes at the mention of ‘The Warren’. But the unappealing swathes of chalets and amusements can be bypassed easily for the sake of a walk on the extraordinary one-and-a-half mile sand peninsula poking across the mouth of the Exe.

Teignmouth

The promenade, sandy beach, lido and pier seem standard classic seaside offerings – but exploring a narrow maze of old streets behind them leads to one of Devon’s most bohemian spots.

Torquay

It’s easy to bypass the SW660’s biggest and busiest resort but we think there are plenty of reasons not to – starting with some sensational coastal driving.

Dartmouth

With one of the West’s best waterfronts and yachting harbours, try to approach Dartmouth from the water using one of two car ferries crossing the estuary.

Best Picnic Spot

Berry Head Nature Reserve

Brixham Harbour isn’t the end of Torbay, follow the road past the breakwater to find the protected headland of Berry Head. It’s a National Nature Reserve with one of our biggest guillemot colonies and many rare wildflowers thriving in its special mild climate. There’s a café among fortifications that date from Iron Age to Napoleonic, and the grassy cliff-tops make excellent picnic spots.

Discover Somewhere new

The Dart Valley

Between the bohemian town of Totnes and the nautical charm of Dartmouth, the River Dart forms a beautiful estuary, wiggling between wooded slopes and waterside villages.

Explore the area by driving tiny lanes to Dittisham, Tuckenhay and Stoke Gabriel. Try a boat trip from Dartmouth or walk the riverside trails. Highlights include waterside gardens at Agatha Christie’s former home Greenway House and tastings at Sharpham Vineyard.

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